Before passage of the 2020 budget, the council will still need to decide how city contributions to health savings accounts will be distributed.
The proposed changes provoked an outcry from city employees when they were announced at the beginning of September. Employees representatives, including
The day before the council was scheduled to vote two weeks ago, about a hundred city employees -- a mix of firefighters, garbage collectors from the
No one was looking forward to voting.
"This is not a pleasant day," said Alderman Q.A. Shakoor II of the
At Monday's meeting, Alderman
"They understand the situation the city faces and feel that some cuts would be unavoidable. They wanted to be part of the discussion and they were completely cut out of this process. This is completely unacceptable," said Levie. "I believe there is nothing fair nor equitable about this proposal and how we got here."
Weidner said the council was told the changes would help with retaining "engineers and nurses" so she was dismayed that the top 28 earners have seen their salaries increase from
"If they (referring to the highest-earning city employees) have to pay
Alderman Glenn put it more succinctly.
"We need to chop from the top," she said.
The bulk of the proposed changes, which will affect current employees, were passed by a vote of 8 to 7.
Those who voted to approve the changes were Aldermen
For 2020, city employees will only have one plan available thats sets employee contributions at 7.5% (
After the deductible, the new plan requires a
Instead of a separate prescription drug deductible, drug payments will contribute to the overall deductible. Once the deductible is met, the copay is determined by what tier the medicine is set at: Tier 1 is
The proposed changes to the retirees' benefits were altered before passing.
The proposal would have removed Medicare B reimbursements for spouses, capped Medicare Part B reimbursement for retirees at
The amendments passed 13 to 2, with Aldermen Levie and Weidner voting in opposition.
The overall changes to retiree benefits passed 9 to 6. Aldermen Coe, Jones, Tate, Horton, Shakoor, Jung, Taft, Meekma and Lemke voting in approval. Aldermen Larrin, Levie, Weidner, Glenn, Land and Perez voted in opposition.
To be determined
For current employees, some of the additional out-of-pocket costs will be mitigated by health savings accounts that would include a contribution from the city at the beginning of the year.
The proposed city contributions to the HSAs would be
Since the council had a full agenda that evening, Alderman
Some aldermen argued it would be better for city employees to know how much they'll receive in advance so they can prepare for the start of the year. The mood shifted when City Administrator
Palenick stated that in light of the discussion about how the changes placed a greater burden on lower-wage employees, the council could consider distributing more HSA funds to those employees and fewer to the higher-income employees.
Ultimately the council voted unanimously to establish the HSA's with a dollar amount of
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